IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - 96

VIEWPOINT

Electricite Du Laos Builds the
Electric System of the Future
By Patrick Avery

AOS, OFFICIALLY THE LAO
grown faster than EDL could upgrade
People's Democratic Repubits electrical system, resulting in frelic, is located in Southeast
quent, prolonged power outages.
Asia, bordered by Burma (Myanmar)
A major cause of the problem was
and China to the northwest, Vietnam
that the electrical system was not autoto the east, Cambodia to the south,
mated. The only way the operators
and Thailand to the west. The populacould learn of outages was when they
tion is 6.8 million, of
were reported by cuswhich 810,000 live in
tomers; they then had
EDL has experienced
the capital, Vientiane.
to send out crews to
significant load
The state-owned
manually find and
growth on its electric
utility, Electricite du
repair them, which
Laos (EDL), with 3,500
made for longer outagsystem, resulting in a
employees, is a transes and was an ineffi2012 unemployment
mission and distribucient use of personnel.
rate of only 1.3%
tion company that supIn an effort to solve
according to Factfish.
plies about 1,552 GWh
these problems, EDL
of electricity annually,
inaugurated its Power
over more than 32,000
Distribution System
power lines for 782,517 connected meters
Rehabilitation project led by Sisavath
covering 236,800 km2, and is a major
Thiravong, managing director of EDL,
source of income for the national
which intended to rehabilitate and upgovernment.
grade the existing facilities of the comOver the past ten years, EDL has
pany's power distribution network in
experienced significant load growth
four major cities: Vientiane, Thankhek,
on its electric system, resulting in a
Savannakhet, and Pakse.
2012 unemployment rate of only 1.3%
Looking Ahead
according to Factfish. In 2011, the
The objectives for the project are as
Laotian government reported that
follows:
more than 70% of the population had
x Increase system reliability-
access to electricity, and plans called
ensure a continuous and stable
for that number to be increased to
electrical supply to the governmore than 80% by 2014. This growth
ment and private sectors.
has dramatically improved Laos' citix Reduce economic loss-minimize
zens' quality of life, but the load has
prolonged power outages that
cause economic loss to the country.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MELE.2014.2380192
Date of publication: 27 February 2015
According to Nation Master, Laos's

L

96

I E E E E l e c t r i f i c ati o n M agaz ine / MARCH 2015

firms experienced an average of 2.6
power outages per month and pay
US$0.05/kWh, with outages lasting
from 10 min to several days.
According to Factfish, Laos's economic value lost due to electrical
outages as a percent of sales
decreased from 4% to 2% during
2006-2012. This equates to an economic loss of US$187.7 million in
2012, based on a gross national
product (GNP) of US$9.4 billion. The
economic value lost due to electrical outages was US$22.2 million in
2013, based on a GNP of US$11.1
billion that gives Laos a 135th ranking among world economies.
x Increase coverage for country utiliza-

tion-develop the electrical distribution system in the four major
cities and facilitate future expansion to the rest of the country.
x Modernize the system-use the latest automation technology to
maintain a modern electrical grid
for the future.
x Allow for future system expan-

sion -design for long-term
expansion.
x Ensure power quality-allow com-

mercial and industrial sectors to
receive good power quality to
maintain consistent operation of
their systems.
x Limit economic cost-be economical to operate, maintain, and grow.
(continued on page 93)



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015

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